09/09/2016 BBC Parliament on BBC Two


Angela Rayner MP asks an Urgent Question on government plans for grammar schools and Will Quince MP introduces a Ten Minute Rule Bill on parental bereavement leave.

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To of the Secretary of State for Education to make a statement


on government plans to lift the statutory ban on opening


As the Prime Minister has said, this government is committed


to building a country which works for everyone and not only


We believe every person should have the opportunity


to fulfil their potential, no matter what their background,


Education is at the heart of this ambition.


We inherited a system from the last Labour government,


however, were too many children left school without the qualifications,


or the skills they needed to be successful in life.


Our far-reaching reforms in the last six years have changed that.


Strengthening school leadership, improving standards of behaviour


in classrooms and making sure children are taught to read more


effectively, improving mathematics teaching in primary schools.


There are now 1.4 million more pupils in schools rated as good,


That means more young people are getting the opportunity


to access better teaching and to maximise their potential.


That is what we want for all children and we are


continuing reforms so that every child can have the best


We are doubling the childcare to 30 hours for parents of three


and four-year-olds and in July, on the issue of academic selection


We cannot rule anything out which could help grow opportunity


for all and give more people the chance to do well in life.


The landscape for schools has changed greatly, we now have


There will be no binary choice of the past, we're schools separate


people into winners, losers, success or failure.


We want to build on our success and create a truly 21st


We want a system that can cater for talent and the abilities


of every single child, so to achieve that we need a truly


diverse range of schools and specialisms.


We need more good schools in more areas of the country responding


to the needs of every child, regardless of their background.


Education policy, that will be set in due course.


Despite the waffle, the cat is finally out of the bag.


The government has revealed their plans for new grammar schools


Will the Secretary of State promised today that future announcements


will be made here so that we can give the policy the scrutiny it


And perhaps she can tell us the evidence base for it today.


As she read the ISS report entry into grammar schools in England?


If so, perhaps she remembers the conclusion that among high


achievers, those that are eligible for free school meals


are significantly less likely to go to grammar school.


The OECD, the Sutton Trust, and even the government's on social


mobility Tsar have cited evidence against this policy.


With schools facing jail term cuts to the budget for the first time


in nearly two decades, pushing ahead with grammar schools


shows a dangerous misunderstanding will be the lucky few that can


afford the tuition who will get ahead, and the disadvantage that


A policy for the few at the expense of the many.


Mr Speaker, I was told that the Tories know the cost


of everything but the value of nothing.


I do not even think they know that any more.


Finally, the Prime Minister promised to lead a one Nation government,


but she said her policy would be led by the evidence.


She claimed she would govern for the disadvantaged and not


the privileged few, but this policy fail on every single count.


It may be a new Prime Minister, but the same old nasty Tories.


I suppose the first thing I would say to the honourable lady


is we haven't actually made any policy announcements yet.


She has given a commentary on I guess what she presumes that


policy announcement will be, and I would encourage her to wait.


But broadly, what we're interested in doing is increasing diversity,


meeting parents' desire for choice to have a school nearby to them


who matches the needs of their child, and we also


want to see capacity built in the system in two weighs.


More schools near to children where they need them.


Despite all the reforms we have had and improvements in attainment,


there are still children who cannot get access to a good enough school.


Also building capacity by having some of the best schools


in the system to help collectively obtain standards as a whole.


We want to see all parts of the education system,


universities as well, playing a stronger, better


Well, she quotes a report by the ISS that mentions issues


on free school meals, but I must say, I do not


She seems to be criticising the status quo whilst resolutely


It was really interesting listening to her because the words


were in many respects the voices I heard, the voices of my childhood,


people having a dogmatic debate about the education system,


whilst I studied in my local comprehensive and entirely untouched


What we want to do and what we think this parliament and the country


should do is to be prepared to look at the practical ways that we can


improve attainment for our children and to be prepared to leave no stone


Frankly, to complain about one aspect of our school system and then


say that we shouldn't even have a debate about that element


is frankly an untenable argument and it is essentially politics


and dogma coming before pupils and opportunity.


It is about prioritising benches opposite, as we can see today,


of an ideological debate, when what we want is a debate


about the practical steps we can take to tackle generational failure


and schools that are not still delivering for children


It would be wrong to discount how we can improve prospects for those


children, especially the most disadvantaged, purely


If Labour is not willing to ask itself these difficult questions,


how can it possibly come up with any of the solutions?


We do believe selection can play a role.


We think that there is evidence to show that it does for many


But anyhow we would need to leave no stone unturned, we will be


World Economic Forum has recommended that reminded us that we are well


down on the table for literacy and numeracy.


Some 17% of 18-year-olds struggle with literacy,


and this figure is even worse for numeracy, 25%.


It is necessary for discussion about grammar schools not


to distract us for the fundamental task of improving social mobility


and ensuring we make the best use of all the talent across the whole


country and not just talk about the few?


Going back to the Sutton Trust report, which actually did focus


particularly on free school meals children and how they performed


in grammar schools, their educational games


from attaining in grammar schools were twice as high pupils with free


school meals compared to the overall impact at pupils overall.


Whilst they provide the stretching outstanding education for children


from all backgrounds, they are one part of a very


A school system that has transformed out of all recognition


from when grammar is originally were introduced.


I think what we now need to do is think about how we can


have a 21st century education policy that takes a pragmatic look


at the role of grammar schools, and across the whole of the system.


He is right that we will not lose sight of the broader reforms


that we are bringing through that will improve standards


The Secretary of State represents a London constituency,


so she will know that London schools have improved dramatically.


Does she agree that has happened because of focus on high standards


for all children in all schools, not by going down the route


of selection, and I urge her today not to go back, not to turn


the clock back to grammar schools, but to focus on high standards


in all schools in all parts of the country for all children?


I think I can reassure him, we will not be turning


He speaks about London, and I think the London lessons


around collaboration, school leadership and sharing those


best practice experiences across schools.


I think the challenge I want us to discuss is how we can make sure


all schools play a role in doing that, rather than simply saying that


grammar is set on one side and should not play as greater role


I think they should, and I think we have


Fundamentally, this is about having more good school places for more


children, about building capacity by better places and more places,


and about sharing best practice and improving school leadership


by having schools working closely together.


I am fortunate to have an excellent grammar school in my constituency.


As my honourable friend will know, people move to Kent


Does she agree that it is not right for an excellent academic education


to be only available to those who can move to the catchment areas


We need to improve diversity and choice.


As the Prime Minister said, too often in Britain we have


selection, but on the basis of House prices which is totally


We need to challenge ourselves to talk about how we can change that


and improve standards for children wherever they are in the country.


And simply saying something is off the table because of political


ideology and dogma does not serve the children that we want to see


have an improved prospect for the future.


Can I thank the new Secretary of State and beg her to listen


I cheer the advisory Council of the Sutton Trust.


Listen to the Sutton Trust because we believe in


Listen to the Chief Inspector of schools.


And indeed just look at the areas where, for years we have had this


kind of education, and what it has done to the entirety.


Look at Kent, and it sure looks at Kent in depth,


I think it is time that we looked at the Kent experience.


I know that Kent themselves have done a lot of work to really dig


into the background as to how they can get more children


from disadvantaged backgrounds into the grammar schools.


He has raised issues, a principle, and my response would be


if that is how he feels, why would he want to discount


looking at the areas of grammar schools to see how we can make them


work effectively not just for children who get to them,


but for those who do not get to them, how grammar schools work


It seems to me that the response of the Labour Party to all of those


challenges is to raise them, but then simply put them on one


Bradford is one of the worst performing education


There is a wide provision of some outstanding results


Where people can afford to buy a House and a good catchment area,


they can get themselves to a school that produces outstanding results,


and those who cannot afford a House and a good catchment area tend


Went on people in Bradford get access to the very best grammar


They surely shouldn't not just be a preserve of the Tory areas.


I think he speaks for many constituency MPs, and the point


It should not be for government to deprive them of the joys of how


So this is about choice, diversity and building capacity


The Secretary of State knows that apart from the best possible


teaching, the most important thing we can do for young people


is to encourage them as they make their way through school.


Given that as a nation we still deal with the legacy of a divided


education system, why on earth does she think that subjecting more


11-year-old children to that experience and their tearful parents


having opened the envelope telling them that they have failed,


is going to encourage and support them in their self-esteem


and the continuing career through the education system?


Dare I said, get another Labour MP saying what is wrong


with the current system, while arguing we should not


The legacy we are interested in challenging was the one left


by the last Labour government, inflation, declining standards,


children leaving the system without even basics


I sat on a train last weekend and listened to a young man talking


about how the fact he did not know how to spell was holding him


We managed to take power from the Labour Party


but he is having to live with the consequences


of an education system is fundamentally failed him every


We inherited a university system with a limit on the number


Record numbers that were not in employment,


Youth unemployment had gone up by 50% by the time


Not only do we want to make up for lost ground but make sure


beyond that we leave no stone unturned, we look across the whole


education system, to make sure we turbo-charge the prospects


and opportunities that all children in our country,


but especially the most disadvantaged, and especially those


who do not currently have the opportunities they need,


I welcome the Government decision to at least open this debate.


It should be no part of a Conservative government's


policy to have a statutory ban on the establishment


Evidence in my area, where they are available just down


the road in the neighbouring council area indicates there is widespread


support for the establishment of a grammar school.


Coastal communities are particularly vulnerable to poorer education


standards and I hope she will consider that


And could I also urge to consider the possible


I am sure he will be interested to see our policies


He raises some of the different elements of the secondary system


currently the and the desire that I know he has to make sure his local


community has access to better, good schools for more local


children and that is exactly what we are aiming to achieve.


I think the Secretary of State is right not to rule out


a discussion on grammar schools as part of the wide types of schools


we have in this country and I declare an interest


as the product of a wonderful grammar school.


Would she like to visit Northern Ireland, where grammar


schools still exist, they are hugely popular and weather


is good education across the spectrum, no matter


what the ability of the young person at Northern Ireland's results


continue to improve and be better than the United Kingdom


and that there is very little private education?


Perhaps she would like to talk to the first Minister in Northern


I thank her for that invitation and I am sure I will want to take up


I should emphasise to the House that as my honourable friend said,


this is the opening up of a debate and I think it is important to have


this poor our children if we are to rise to the challenge


of looking at what it takes to improve attainment and making


sure we have good schools where they are growing up.


We are going to look at these options carefully.


I recognise this is a very emotive debate.


That is because it matters but that is also why we should be


prepared to have a debate about this, given how much


the broader school system has now changed.


I will look very carefully at all of the arguments that


are made and all of the evidence that is produced because I do think


I will say to colleagues that I am keen to hear from colleagues


across all sides of the House and we will be setting out


I welcome her comments very warmly indeed.


All children have the rights to fulfil their full potential.


Will the Secretary of State assure the House she is considering all


methods of selection and that this is not all about bringing back


We will set out our policy is much more broadly, but I can assure you,


Mr Speaker, there will be no return to the past.


This is about moving forward, having a 21st-century approach


in relation to the school system, precisely not one rooted


I hope the party opposite can engage in a modern debate rather than one


I think in the clamour coming from some areas about creating


new grammar schools, what many people forget


is when you create a new grammar school, you also create


secondary modern schools because of the skewing of the intake


The chief inspector in his speech to London local government on Monday


accepted that grammar schools where they do exist do a fine job


with the intake they have, but have a very poor track record


in terms of admitting youngsters from a non-middle-class background.


If we are going to go down this road, what can the Secretary


of State dude confirmed that would be the case in other parts


I think it again underlines why we are right to open up this


In a way, we are not going to tackle any of the issues he cares


about without having a broad look about what a modern policy approach


We should not simply discount the excellent education so many


children do get at grammar school, including children


We should look harder at how we can make sure grammar schools play


the role more collaboratively in a broader system to make sure


they build up capacity and more good places as they steadily


Yesterday in the course of an education select committee


hearing we have the evidence, the truism of what can affect


attainment most is good teaching in the classroom,


Does she agree sometimes structures can support learning and the recent


study of 2011 showed that giving schools autonomy improves outcome,


so that further choice for parents, teachers and students may


Critically, we need to have the right level of autonomy


for schools so they can actually get on with the job


of teaching our children, but also fantastic leadership


We know from the London experience that was critical.


Heads showing what could be done in difficult schools and working


with others for their schools to put in place the same sort of approaches


and then teaching staff more broadly that are motivated and able to work


in the classroom effectively with children who are able to be


disciplined ineffectively by the head and a head that


genuinely feels they have control and leadership over the school.


All of these things make a difference and beyond that,


if we are really going to make an impact on the long-term social


mobility in Britain, which will not change overnight,


we need not only schools and the education family to be


driving social mobility, but we need local communities,


business, universities, civil society, everybody needs


to play a role alongside core education reform,


to make sure children inside the classroom and also


outside are getting the skills, knowledge, the advice and experience


they will need to truly develop their potential.


When the former chief inspector said that the idea that poor children


will benefit from an expansion in the number of grammar schools


was nonsense, was he being ideological?


In opening up this debate, there will be people that have


different views but I do not believe that as a reason not


The issue of improving attainment and having more good school places


for more children, building the capacity that we need


in our system for it to have great schools on the doorstep is too


important to put in the bracket that it is too hard and we should


We should have the debate and work out what we need to do to do


a better job of raising attainment for children who currently


I am not an expert on the theory of secondary education but having


attended a grammar school with a largely working-class


contingent in the 1960s, I know something about the practice


Can the Secretary of State explain why it is acceptable to nurture


and promote sporting excellence, but not academic excellence?


He raises a good point around the broader issue of selection,


which is that all children are different and therefore,


playing to those talents and natural interests of children is important.


Parents should have more choice and more diversity in the school


system to find not only a good school but a good school that


will be particularly good for the child.


The job of education in the 21st century is to maximise opportunity


for the maximum number of children, whatever their background.


The Ofsted chief Inspector said this week that a return to grammar


He said it would be a profoundly retrograde step that would actually


lead to overall standards sliding back, not improving.


He said just 9% of disadvantaged children go to the grammar schools


in grammar school Bexley, were as a non-grammar school


Hackney, 62% of children go to university compared to 48%


Does she not agree that where there is a failure


and disadvantage, the answer should not be a festival of bringing back


but instead a focus on expanding opportunity for all schools right


Expanding opportunity is at the heart


I would encourage him to rather than jump the gun,


wait and see the Government proposals when they are set out.


Yet again, we have heard from the party opposite


of complaints about the current system while apparently maintaining


a position of not wanting to have a debate about how we can


improve it and make it better overall and ensure that improvement


is something the whole school system can benefit from.


I realise the honourable gentleman may experience some teething


problems as he makes his adjustments to life in the backbenchers.


We look forward to hearing from him on a regular basis but unfortunately


he is no longer a minister and does not have a guaranteed slot,


but an expectant nation will now hear him!


I am slowly readjusting to the metaphysical plane.


I welcome what the Secretary of State has said about


But will she acknowledge that a grammar school might not be suited


I would not relish the prospect of informing parents informing


bread, Milton or Leamington that the child had not been able


to get into the grammar school and would have to be


He raises an important point about how local communities needs


to be intrinsically involved in how the school system locally develops.


I can assure him we are very seasoned in that.


I should also take this opportunity to put on record how much I enjoyed


working with him in our previous department roles for education.


He did an outstanding job and was a pleasure to have


All of us wants the best for our children.


But following on from my honourable friend for Gateshead,


in answering his question, which in my view she did not,


does she not understand the very real concern is that


in reintroducing grammar schools, you also reintroduce secondary


You recreate the division that there has been a consensus


about that we should not allow within the education system.


How is it that proposing new grammar schools,


which will bring secondary moderns is going to improve attainment


for all pupils in all of our communities?


The fundamental premise of his question I think is wrong.


This is absolutely not about going back to the past.


Secondary moderns for many years did not even put their children


Our school system has reformed, thankfully, beyond all


The premise of his question is wrong.


This is about improving standards for all children.


He asked about how we can make that happen.


One of the ways is having good and outstanding schools playing more


of a role, lifting other schools that can benefit


Could I welcome the Secretary of State's focus on excellence


in education for all and invite her to Salisbury to look at the mixed


economy with grammar schools, UTC, a free six form,


local authority schools and a multi-Academy trust forming


shortly, and also place matters is on the dynamic between those


different types of schools and how in particular grammar schools work


with the neighbours nearby to raise standards across the board?


Finally, the focus on the P8 school which does a loss to put into focus


the progress made by every school would surely needs to be


He is right, collaboration and having good schools working


with families to raise attainment is important.


We should be challenging schools on progress that every child.


Part of the problem of this approach of getting people into GCSEs


was that it missed out the progress schools often make brilliantly


with children that are perhaps further back in there attainment,


On a consensual note, she will agree that the biggest


problem is underperforming boys in poorer areas.


How does she think the creation of grammar schools is a solution


You will be pleased to hear that the Department for Education


We're allowed to have more than one to tackle poor attainment,


and we will be bringing forward some proposals on how we feel the broader


school system, including grammars, can work more effectively and indeed


the education system can improve attainment.


But he is right to highlight white working-class boys in particular.


Some work was done by the Sutton Trust that looked


at primary schools that were doing a good job on improving attainment


of white working-class boys, and sadly only eight to ten really


improved attainment dramatically, but we can learn from the experience


and make sure the best practices spread more effectively.


But it is critical, and he is right to focus on it.


There is no doubt that there is a virtual scrum of parents around


almost every grammar school in the country trying to take


advantage of the excellent education opportunities they provide.


The answer is not to sneer at grammar schools or to try


to close them down, the option surely should be to enhance them.


At the moment new schools can select on the basis of children's ability


at performing arts, sport and music, but not on that ability


He is right, and the scrums around good schools, not just grammar


schools, so our focus has to be on opening up the system as much


as we can to maximise our ability to get good schools and more good


places for children in their local area, and many of our colleagues


have spoken about how children come from miles away to the good school


Perhaps if we already had a good school closer to where those


children left, they would not need to do and they would not


spend their time travelling and losing out on homework and study


I welcome the comprehensively educated Secretary


The age of 11 is too early to make final decisions which affect


the child's whole future, so said Margaret Thatcher,


the Secretary of State who oversaw the most expansive


Does she really want to bring back secondary modern and grammar schools


with a negative impact on achievement, predicted


by Her Majesty is inspected and a negative impact on social


mobility predicted by the government's


I have a great amount of respect for the honourable gentleman


and now that he spent a career in education before coming into this


place, and I would simply say to him to wait for the policy options to,


it, and I will be interested to hear his response to those


I went to a state grammar school in south London and I owe my place


The best grammar schools actively seek children from disadvantaged


backgrounds, and Wallington County Grammar next door to Croydon has 14%


With the Secretary of State support their plans to open up


a satellite grammar school in my constituency, rather


like the one opened up in Sevenoaks a few months ago?


I think all of us are here because of the education


I think the challenge we face and we are debating is how we can


make sure that no child misses out on that opportunity


because of the postcode lottery of where they happen to be have been


We need to make sure that whatever kind of good schools they are,


that they have more freedom to be able to expand and deliver more good


places in our school system for children who do not


I have listened carefully to the Secretary of State,


and I have not heard her explicitly support the policy announced


by the Prime Minister that the backbench Conservative


Given that the Prime Minister has repeatedly boasted that she likes


to take decisions thinking very carefully about them based


on evidence, is she aware of any evidence that shows that a grammar


school system improves attainment across the piece or


As I have said in the past, we have not set out the policy proposals.


I would point him to the search by the Sutton Trust which clearly


set out the improved attainment for free school meal children,


but also actually said that in that particular piece of research


they did not see any negative impact on children outside of the grammar


I recognise that there are different studies that have recognised


different challenges around selection, but again I would say


that if that is the view honourable members take,


isn't that all the more reason to open debate and discuss how


we can have a sensible policy on grammar schools?


Speaking as someone who was comprehensively educated


in a comprehensive school, I saw the benefits both of academic


education but also vocational education.


With my right honourable friend not agree that one of the things we have


to do in society is to assess young people, make sure that we have


teaching for them that stretches them to the utmost so they achieve


the best they can, and that actually assessments of all ages


are important, so we achieve that, so we get the best possible


He is absolutely right and while we are right to focus


on the academic attainment on children in our schools


because if they do not get those basics they will not be able


to succeed, it is also important to recognise that one of the most


important thing we can do alongside that is improved reforms


on vocational education and apprenticeships,


and make sure they are attainable writs for people who want to choose


an academic path of life different from an...


There are sometimes ascends from the opposition benches that


education is purely about academic attainment.


It is critical, but it is absolutely not the totality of what we need


to be ensuring our children need to be getting.


We have to build pathways on skills for children who are going to pursue


a course that is much more vocational.


The Secretary of State recently told the TES,


the times I had best were the teachers that


When heads and cheers of governors in my constituency who are working


really hard to raise standards and opportunities for all our young


people tell me that the recruitment and retention of good teachers


is the biggest challenge that they face, does she not


understand the frustration that they feel that she is focused


on structures where the evidence does not support them working,


rather than the problems they see every day in trying to deliver


a fantastic education for people on Friday in Nottingham?


I would like to thank her for that point.


She's right that the issues of teacher recruitment and retention


and enabling and unlocking teachers to get on with the job and be


excellent in the classroom is truly important.


It sits alongside some of the policy options we will be bringing forward


around selection, but it is absolutely vital and we're


I am sure many across Torbay, we're three grammar schools work


well with comprehensive schools, a studio school and a technical


college, we are listening to some of the comments today,


particularly the Education Secretary, with amazement.


There is nothing radical about the idea that we will give


arbitrary areas the chance to choose to have the education system


It is about two things, about being clearly prepared


to leave no stone unturned in asking what it is going to take to improve


the education system for children, and it is about having a practical


debate on that that goes beyond the ideological debate


In Trafford where we have selection, our schools perform very well,


not because of selection but because of great teaching


But I must tell the Secretary of State that the majority


of parents in Trafford, especially parents of children


with special educational needs, do not feel that they get


their child into the school, in particular they feel that grammar


schools are reluctant to take those children with special needs


because they want to press the school's results.


When the Secretary of State comes forward, and she assure the House


that the needs of those particularly vulnerable children will be given


appropriate attention in the strategy she proposes?


I am very grateful for that question.


I would be happy to sit down with her and further discuss this.


It is an incredibly important point that we not only raise attainment


across the board but we leave no child out of that progress


we are seeing in the School improvement.


Parents in Kent as a whole see grammar schools and faith -based


schools as engines of opportunity and aspiration,


and will the government also look at more faith -based schools


and more skills -based education at any stage in their lives?


I agree it is about choice and a school system that means


you can find the right school for your child that is tailored


And the Secretary of State tell us how this helps with the government's


We know that there are technology colleges, and they seem


And have they had any discussions about the church about any impact


We will be announcing our policy options in due course and I am sure


But education in schools is critical for delivering on our long-term


industrial strategy if we're going to meet these challenges


of having a successful economy but also having our migration levels


One of the ways we can do that incredibly constructively is to meet


more of our skill needs from our own young people and to be


training them and educating them to be able to play their role


in British industry, helping our country be successful.


Is my right honourable friend in agreement that with all


the different schools now available, if parents do not want to choose


a grammar school education for their children, such schools


will not survive and thrive, but we should at least give parents


with limited means the same choice that better off parents have.


We should not accept poor school standards and whatever school


We have to challenge low attainment wherever we find it,


but the point I am making today is that it is not good enough


to just take something off the table because of political ideology.


What we need to do is challenge all aspects of our education system


to play a greater role in raising attainment and building capacity.


There remains a fundamental contradiction at the heart


of the government's thinking which I suspect has been


muddled by the ideology that they are accusing our


side of the household, which is that the school selects


or the parents choose, but you cannot have selection


So does the suggestion from the Prime Minister last night


that she wants to see an element of selection indicate


that the government has abandoned parental choice?


I would encourage him to wait for the policy options to be


announced and I am sure he will want to respond to them


I'm sure parents in Europe will warmly welcome a grammar school


have to cross the border into Lincolnshire, often


But that she acknowledge what a lot of our existing grammar schools


There are ?4000 per pupil in my constituency,


whereas the lowest performing school in Lincolnshire is ?8,000 per pupil.


We are developing our proposals on funding formula for schools,


and I know he will want to represent his community as we do that.


But it is important that we get a more equitable funding


Don't accept this characterisation. We need to improve education at


every stage of HRposmac life, including early years.


If I can take this opportunity not only to congratulate the honourable


lady on the extremely effective way in which she chaired that committee,


but the point she is making about the role of this process


is extremely important in terms of reinforcing this framework


of transparency and accountability, this incredibly complex process


which carries a huge bill for the taxpayer.


So it is absolutely an imperative for a government of any colour


to drive this process forward in as responsible and cost-effective


way, with value for money being a prime consideration.


But I take on board her suggestions very seriously.


There are parts of the country where it has proved challenging. Would my


friend agree with me that not only do different things work in


different areas, but it is essential that we have a mixture of routs by


which young people want to succeed? Is only right that you government is


looking at how best we can enhance what is happening now, which is


opportunity? He is absolutely right. We have 1 point formal children in


good or outstanding schools. It is a variety of ways in which children


are learning in the class. But also how we are getting schools to work


together collaboratively. We have to look at how we look at that


critically. For the 1 millionplus children who do not have the


attainment levels we want and live in places where they don't have a


chance to get to a good school we have to make sure that we change the


terms of trade for the in terms of their education opportunities.


I beg to move that leave be given to make a bill to make provision


for statutory entitlement for leave of absence from employment


for bereaved parents, and for connected purposes.


I seek leave to introduce a bill to amend the employment rights act


1996, to give parents who have suffered the loss of a child


a statutory right to two weeks' paid leave.


May I pay credit to the former member for Glasgow South,


who campaigned for this change, and the many honourable


and Right Honourable members across the house who support this.


I know that any member of this house will agree that there can be few


more distressing life events than the loss of a child,


but with up to 5000 children dying every year, many thousands


of parents go through this personal tragedy.


My wife and I lost son, who was still born full-term,


in October 20 I was entitled to two weeks off work,


protected by statute, and paternity laws.


I had a very understanding employer so my legal rights did not come


into question, but it was comforting to know that I was entitled by law


to two weeks off work, that I could take time to come


I know how valuable it was to spend precious time with my wife coming


to terms with what had just happened, registering the death,


making funeral arrangements and preparing to say goodbye.


I cannot to understand what it would feel like to lose a child


at seven months, two, five, ten, 15 years old.


The grief must be unbearable and my heart goes out to any parent


who has gone through this terrible life event.


But why should these parents not have the same protection in law


as those who lose a baby by stillbirth or in the first few


In those circumstances, you are entitled to maternity


If you lose a child or older baby, nothing.


There is no current statutory time off for compassionate


or bereavement grounds, but all employees can take immediate


In effect, that is a legal right to take unpaid time off to deal


There is no set limit on how many days can be taken as lead


and a rather vague definition of a reasonable amount of time.


Further, there is no statutory right to be paid during this


The reference to taking action distinguishes it from bereavement


The type of action contemplated by the provision is arranging


and attending a funeral, registering the death etc,


not to provide a right to leave to cope with the emotional reaction


A right to bereavement leave is not protected by law in this respect,


so the duty to show compassion is left entirely to the better


To be clear, most employers are excellent.


They act with compassion and kindness, offering bereaved


staff the time they need to come to terms with their loss.


They behave in a manner falling well short of what we would


Of course, we expect employers to act with sensitivity


and flexibility like this, but given the countless examples


of organisations acting without sensitivity and with that


in flexibility, surely it is time for the Government to act?


I am certainly allied to the pressures on businesses


at the moment, especially small businesses, and loathe to introduce


But given the relatively and, thankfully, small number


of bereaved parents annually, the cost to business would be small.


I also believe there is an argument that this is beneficial to treat


staff with compassion and often pay them fully paid leave.


This change would allow them to recover some of


It is difficult to say, it would largely come down


However, research conducted by the House of Commons library


suggests that costs could be as little as ?2 million per year.


The reality is that every bereaved parent is different.


Some will want to take time off, others will want to get straight


In the same way that not everyone takes full maternity


The issue, however, is that they have choice


Some will cover this from a religious perspective.


When a death occurs in Hinduism, relatives are required to observe


a 13 day mourning period after cremation, and in Judaism


family members are required to stay at home for seven days of mourning


Statutory bereavement is a common right across Europe and many


Whilst the exact conditions vary it is a total time off


and whether said leave is paid or unpaid, it is remarkable that


you can argue that Albania or Bosnia and Herzegovina have better worker


My proposal would give UK workers some of the best bereavement rights


in the world in terms of length of leave possible.


Whilst other countries like Israel of the leave with full salary,


I believe that longer leave at a lower statutory rate


The National bereavement Alliance and the National Council


For Palliative Care 2014 report, Life After Death, quoted Conrad 's


research showing 81% of people agreed that there should be


a legal right to receive paid bereavement leave.


A government E petition calling for bereavement leave for parents


organised by campaigner Lucy Hurd has over 25,000 signatures,


another petition has over 165,000 signatures.


The campaign has the support of many organisations,


including Child Bereavement Uk, The Lullaby Trust, Working Families,


I fully appreciate concerns which the Government and other House


It will not be perfect, there will always be sincere


disagreements over the length of time given and the eligibility


criteria, but let us not make the perfect to the


This bill would be an important first step, giving thousands


of bereaved parents up and down this country the opportunity to come


to terms with their grief without feeling the pressure


of having to return to work, and I commend the bill to the Haas.


The question is that the honourable member have leave to bring


Who will prepare and bring in the bill?


Johnny Mercer, Frank Field, Doctor Sarah Woolston,


Stuart Mark McDonald, Cilla Fernandez, where streeting,


James Cartledge, Greg Mulholland, Mike Wood, James cleverly,


Parental bereavement leave statutory entitlement bill.


Angela Rayner MP asks an Urgent Question on government plans for grammar schools, from Thursday 8th September, and Will Quince MP introduces a Ten Minute Rule Bill on parental bereavement leave, from Tuesday 6th September.

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